Kingdoms of Amalur: Re-Reckoning – Review
Follow Genre: RPG, Action, Adventure
Developer: KAIKO, Big Huge Games
Publisher: THQ Nordic
Platform: PC, PS4, Xbox One
Tested on: PC

Kingdoms of Amalur: Re-Reckoning – Review

Site Score
8.0
Good: A solid RPG with nice environments and customization/skills, and great sound
Bad: Feels like fighting in an MMORPG on your own, Overwhelming in content early without proper direction
User Score
8.0
(1 votes)
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Rating: 8.0/10 (1 vote cast)

Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning is a game that came out in early 2012. With the successful reinstatement of classic RPGs such as the vanilla World of Warcraft, it’s not weird that other games such as Neverwinter Nights or Kingdoms of Amalur try to spread some classic love or fundraising as well. So here it is, a remaster of Amalur which is named Kingdoms of Amalur: Re-Reckoning. Let’s look at how a remaster of the underrated Xbox 360/PS3/PC game is holding up on this generation, with the next generation right on our doorstep.

Story

The main story follows the hero(ine) you created, who gets raised from the dead. This happens by a construction named the Well of Souls, something that a few “scientists” toss plenty of dead people in, with the purpose to see if somebody can get return to the living. Once alive, as the only risen succes, you are aptly named the “Fateless One”, you have to escape the facility where you got resurrected. This because it’s under attack by the antagonist of the story. This makes your first task escaping safely, while following some tutorial instructions. After that, as the Fateless One does not remember a thing about their life before the resurrection and as it’s unclear why they are revived, they are tasked with finding the main scientist who supposedly made it all possible. Well on his way to find Fomorous Hugues, as the lead scientist is called, the player finds many stories around him by doing side quests.

While these side quests and the main quest line are like many hidden gems scattered on a map, Kingdoms of Amalur also takes some speed out of a good story by putting quite a few miles between key cutscenes. Even more so, it overwhelms you with large areas that offer multiple choices including many directions and some dungeons. Perhaps all these choices work for some people, but it’s an MMORPG set-up in a single-player RPG, which can feel out of place.

Graphics

That the game feels like an MMORPG is enhanced by the fact that it looks a bit like Blizzard’s World of Warcraft and perhaps also regular action RPG Fable. It’s a combination of the colorful bulky models and fantasy-rich environments that gives it this appeal. While Re-Reckoning is more polished for sure, Reckoning already looked nice and smooth. So to say things changed a lot is an overstatement. There are better lighting and fog effects, and the game blends better, but the talking animations are still as static as they’ve always been. Other than that, the fighting, running, and other active animations are still doing well and don’t feel outdated. The HUD and menus are easy to understand and accessible, much like the gameplay.

Sound

One of the strongest elements that Kingdoms of Amalur is holding is the voice acting. There’s a wide array of variated voices that are convincing and unique for the character they belong to. The cinematic background music does not ever bore you as it’s not predictable at all and is good at keeping you on your toes. Together with razor-sharp sound effects, that are precise to the swinging of swords and the footsteps that you make, the sound is better than good. It’s done amazingly. It shows exactly why it’s a shame that not enough people played the original Kingdoms of Amalur, but luckily Re-Reckoning paves the way for a second chance.

Gameplay

So, as mentioned, Kingdoms of Amalur: Re-Reckoning feels a lot like an MMORPG, but actually isn’t. It’s a combination between an RPG and an action-adventure game, and it also has hack and slash mechanics. The game introduces you to choosing a sort of class, making you play sneaky, brutish, or with magic. You quickly combine your choice with chosen skills and a vast array of weaponry, after which you start to grow more firmly in the desired playing style. It doesn’t really matter though, because in the end you are hacking, slashing, and using magic skills anyway. This makes fighting mostly easy, and a little challenge is more than welcome. Especially as you dodge and roll when needed, and smash buttons when there’s an opening. That Re-Reckoning includes the DLC of the original Kingdoms of Amalur does not make this better, as there is a special chest available early that’s filled with strong gear, diminishing the challenge even further.

Depending on the situation, it’s easier to attack monsters from a range and other times up close, but the main style of the game stays the same. Ths means that you’re basically running around to find and complete side quests while you smack every creature’s butt that you come across. The variation mainly comes from leveling up, which allows you to unlock new skills with enough points that make combat more interesting. Also, more passive skills such as lockpicking are available. Lockpicking and other passives give you the possibility to open complicated locks and chests by doing mini-games. These mini-games throw in some more variation. The same goes for traps in dungeons that, like the combat, go off in real-time. It makes the game feel more adventurous.

While Kingdoms of Amalur is a rich and good game, the hack and slash combat with little variation is what holds it back most. Obviously, you can’t adapt a remaster to make it a completely new game, but all we are saying is that this is the part that feels most outdated. For one, shooting the bow could use a close-up point of view with better aim to make it more exciting. Generally, Re-Reckoning still works well, and if anything, simple combat makes the game accessible for all ages (7+) too.

Conclusion

Despite that Kingdoms of Amalur’s choice of an MMORPG environment in a regular RPG still feels weird and a bit stretched, it’s still a good game. Granted, the combat is perhaps a bit too much hack and slash for our taste as well, it also makes the accessible. The sound is amazing and the graphics are still nice. If you never played Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning, then Re-Reckoning might be a good chance to catch up with this underrated game.

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Kingdoms of Amalur: Re-Reckoning - Review, 8.0 out of 10 based on 1 rating
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Find me on youtube to see some playthroughs! https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCuBrlulGywcb0EiYWBnA1ng

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